A new study by researchers at the University of New Mexico is looking to examine how women respond to moderate intensity exercise. The study, titled "Women's Responses to Exercise," is seeking female participants age 18 to 45 who currently exercise less than 40 minutes a week.

The study is being conducted by Drs. Angela Bryan and Jane Ellen Smith in the UNM Psychology department, as well as graduate student Courtney Stevens and honors student Lori Lavasek. The purpose of the study is to explore how women of all shapes and sizes respond to various forms of exercise. It takes place at the New Heart Institute located at 601 Lomas near Interstate 25.

As part of the study, participants will receive a one-time physician screening, which will include height, weight and body composition analysis; a one-time session of 30 minutes of low/moderate intensity exercise; three brief, confidential questionnaires; and $25 in compensation for their participation. Participants must also be fluent in English.

Individuals interested in participating in this study should call, 1-877-397-7514 or e-mail exercise.women@gmail.com, and leave a message of interest with their contact information, including name and telephone number, and the name of the study when calling. Messages will be returned as soon as possible.

Smith also has two related ongoing research studies, including an investigation of the barriers to weight loss treatment attendance and goal attainment in overweight Mexican American/Chicana and Caucasian women. Smith and graduate students Marita Campos-Melady and Katy Belon are currently recruiting research participants to help identify the weight loss barriers and what can be done about them.

The first study, which is recruiting overweight Mexican-American/Chicana women, is a focus group study that will ask women to share their perspectives, opinions and experiences of the obstacles they face when attempting to lose weight. Participants will be asked to fill out a few questionnaires about themselves and their background, their experience of their bodies and their eating habits. They will then be asked to participate in a focus group of 6-8 women discussing weight loss barriers and experiences.

"There has been very little research examining the experience that Mexican-American/ Chicana women have when they attempt weight loss treatment," said Smith. "We have begun investigating why minority groups drop out of treatment prematurely at such high rates, and whether standard weight loss programs need to be modified to better serve unique cultural needs."

The second study is recruiting both overweight Hispanic and White women to complete some brief assessments relating to cultural and body image variables. These studies are also being conducted at the New Heart Institute at 601 Lomas in Albuquerque.

For coming in once and sharing their information and knowledge in either of these studies, participants will be invited to attend a free Weight Loss and Healthy Lifestyle Workshop, which will cover scientifically proven, safe and healthy ways to make lifestyle changes and support weight loss. Participants will learn about the most effective ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss without unsafe fad diets. They will be assisted in making a personal plan, and common problem areas and misconceptions about weight loss will be discussed.

"The participation of Caucasian and Mexican-American/Chicana women is greatly appreciated so that we can use their ideas to better understand their unique experiences of weight loss and help to improve treatments for this group in the future," added Smith.

Individuals interested in participating in either of these studies should call (505) 277-7514 for a recorded message. Callers need to leave a voicemail with their contact information.